Career tips from some fashion pros and how they’re actually relevant

Hi everyone! For those of you who noticed, I’ve been MIA for two weeks, but I’m wrapping up this year with a comeback. Since this is my last post of 2017, it feels appropriate to do some reflecting. There were times I felt like I was stuck and times I had to make difficult choices. Now though, is time for me to really pick my feet up and focus on my goals. This week, I share two big career tips given to me that actually turned out useful!

“The most important thing (in building a solid career in fashion) is grit.”

This simple tip, which was from a senior buyer, is so often overlooked. I bet you wanted to exit this post the moment you read it! I know “oh, it takes hard work” is sooo overused. However, this redundant statement has wormed its way into my life. Sometimes, I get so frustrated that I haven’t found a single job or internship that is truly rewarding. The closest thing I had was an unpaid internship (which lead to a few paid gigs at least) that introduced me to fashion tech and some powerful women leading it.

Point is, I get so impatient with myself because I haven’t built an actual career yet. Then, I remember how most big buyers or brand executives started off grinding for years on the retail floor. I have to remind myself that not everybody graduates with a 50k-a-year job in their field set up for them. I remember this tip given to me and tell myself to keep searching for opportunities, turning over stones, and eventually I’ll get where I want.




“Nobody is going to toot your horn for you. You have to stand up for yourself. Your first job won’t be your last job, so be prepared to leave once it’s no longer paying off.”

My professor in advanced illustration told me this on my graduation day. When she said it, I instantly knew it to hold on to it because it would become important. Shortly after graduation I started working at hair store in the financial district. I was really excited at first because the hours were amazing and I get to tell people I work at Bay and King! Then, I realized it was kind of a dead end. So I switched from full time hours to part time so I could keep my options open. That was when I also got a seasonal job at Nordstrom. I have no idea what possessed me to work retail 6 days a week. 

More importantly, with the minimum wage increase, hours are being cut everywhere. I won’t say too much, but I can tell you that I’m in a situation where an employer has told us not to worry about our jobs but made is clear that most of us will be laid off in January. (Major WTF there)

If anything, my experiences have taught me that retail is a dying field. And unless I’m super passionate about it (which I’m not), it’s best to get out as soon as possible. It’s a little unnerving imagining a job that doesn’t involve helping customers, since all my experience has been with customer service. To be honest, I like change in my life, but I’m not very good at adapting to it. Ironic, I know. But as my professor said, my first job won’t be my last job. It’s time to be off to better things!


What career tips have been relevant in your life?

Let’s chat in the comments below!

~Also check out my personal blog~

Author: Jin Cao

I am a multi-faceted designer, fashion blogger, makeup enthusiast, lover of cats, and connoisseur of ramen! Writer of Main fashion writer of Find my work at

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